Such is the state of the Raiders that conditional praise for a contingency plan is a positive step.
So when their third option at left tackle looked acceptable in his debut, there was reason for encouragement.
According to Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com, there were no overt signs of ineptitude in Menelik Watson’s first game at left tackle.
Considering last night’s game against the Seahawks was the first time he ever played the position, after practicing there for one week (in pads exactly once), it was actually not bad.
“I didn’t see guys running around him left and right,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “I didn’t see him make a lot of mental errors. I think that, for the first time out, in this tough environment, he gave us something solid to improve on.”
The Raiders will be without starter Jared Veldheer for some time after triceps surgery, and next-man-up Alex Barron looked lost in their five-sack half against the Saints. So they gave Watson, this year’s second rounder who generally plays on the right, a shot.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement, which in itself is a good thing,” Watson said. “I felt comfortable in my assignments and what I was asked to do, but I needed to do better in several instances, especially against the run.
“I don’t think I was out of sorts or anything. I know I’ll see a lot of mistakes on the game film, but that in itself will be a good learning experience. The whole week has been a plus, and this game definitely gives me something to build on.”
Watson didn’t do much during training camp because of a nagging calf injury, but the Raiders have to have him now, and hope he holds up against starters.